Human Resources

 
 
 

X. Dispute Resolution Options

If the complaint is for discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, then either an informal or formal resolution process may be used. However, a complaint involving sexual assault or physical violence of any kind cannot be resolved through mediation.

In either process the evidence to be considered may include: witness statements, information from the informal resolution process if one was conducted, other relevant information, and consideration of known patterns and previous history evidence. Each party will be apprised that they may be accompanied by an advisor or union representative if applicable.

Right to an Attorney

No University employee, student, or third party may be accompanied by an attorney unless:

  1. They are a complainant or respondent in a matter referred to the University Hearing Board pursuant to the Code of Conduct, or
  2. Criminal charges arising from the same incident have been filed, or
  3. c. The case involves allegations of sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence and/or stalking. Both the complainant and the accused have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice (which includes an attorney) to any related meeting or institutional disciplinary proceedings.

In such cases the role of the attorney or advisor of choice will be limited to private consultation with the complainant or respondent and the advisor of choice or attorney may not actively participate in the proceedings or meetings in any way.

  1. Informal Resolution Process

    Certain complaints of discrimination, harassment (including sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking) and/or retaliation can be resolved through informal resolution procedures. These informal procedures may include, but not be limited to, an informal investigation, mediation, counseling, and/or any other means of resolving a complaint other than a formal resolution process. However, mediation cannot be used in cases of sexual misconduct. The use of the informal resolution process is voluntary and must be agreed to by the complainant, the accused, and the investigator(s). Either the complainant or the accused may end an informal process at any time and choose to pursue the formal resolution process, or the complainant can choose not to pursue the matter further.

    The assigned investigator(s) will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint and the process. The investigator(s) will explain to the complainant the nature of the informal resolution process and, if acceptable to the complainant, the investigator(s), whenever possible, appropriate and safe, will attempt to resolve the problem or complaint through an informal resolution process. The complainant will not be required to meet with the accused individual face to face. The informal resolution process attempts to resolve the issue with the complainant and the accused individual by mutual agreement, which will be reduced to writing. Once a mutually agreed upon resolution is suggested it will be reviewed, accepted, or modified by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator.

    Once the recommendation for the informal resolution is approved, written notification will be sent by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations promptly. The notification will specify the findings and the terms of the approved resolution. If either party is dissatisfied with the approved resolution, either may make a request within seven (7) business days of issuance of the written notification for formal resolution proceedings.

    In cases involving faculty members all mutually agreed upon resolutions are subject to the approval of the union (unless the faculty member has declined their right to union representation). Recommendations for disciplinary action against faculty members accused of violations of this policy will be forwarded to the Provost who will initiate disciplinary proceedings in accordance with Article XIX of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the AAUP. After the completion of the proceedings the Provost will issue an outcome letter to the faculty member, with a copy to the Title IX Coordinator and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations for their files.

  2. Formal Resolution Process

    If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, or if the action complained of is not appropriate for resolution through the informal resolution process, the investigation will continue to a formal resolution process.

    If it is determined by the investigator(s) by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation of the Policy has occurred, then a recommendation for sanctions or other appropriate measures will be submitted to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations for review, and will either be approved or modified.

    The final outcome will be sent simultaneously and in writing to the complainant and to the respondent within ten (10) business days of the conclusion of the formal resolution process, except as outlined in the paragraph below. While the outcome of the complaint will be provided in writing to both the complainant and the respondent, certain disciplinary action taken against the respondent as a result of the investigation may be kept confidential from the complainant as required by law.

    Recommendations for disciplinary action against faculty members accused of violations of this Policy will be forwarded to the Provost who will initiate disciplinary proceedings in accordance with Article XIX of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the AAUP. After the completion of the proceedings, the Provost will issue an outcome letter to the faculty member with a copy to the Title IX Coordinator and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations for their files.

  3. Appeal Process

    An appeal of a complaint accusing a student is governed by the Code of Conduct. Either the complainant or the accused individual may request an appeal of the findings of the University regarding the formal resolution process. A request for such an appeal that is associated with a complaint accusing employees and others must be submitted in writing to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations or designee within three (3) business days of the receipt of the original outcome. If no request is made in that time, then the decision is rendered final and the parties will be simultaneously so informed. An appeal of the decision may be considered if one of the following grounds is present:

    1. A procedural error has occurred that significantly impacted the outcome (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.). This error must be described in the letter requesting an appeal. Minor or harmless deviations from the process will not invalidate the proceedings;
       
    2. The discovery of significant and relevant new information that was unavailable during the original process, which has become available and could impact the outcome. A summary of this new evidence, why it was previously unavailable and its potential impact must be included in the request for an appeal;
       
    3. The sanction imposed is clearly not appropriate for the violation.

    OOnce a request for an appeal, as defined above, is received, a decision will the rendered on eligibility for appeal usually within ten (10) business days.

    If grounds are not met, the request for an appeal will be denied with no further appeal through this Policy and the parties will be simultaneously so informed.

    If appropriate grounds are present, these will be presented to an appellate body (Appeal Panel) composed of three members of the Anti-Discrimination Panel, or will be returned to the investigator(s) for reconsideration. Regardless of whether all parties request an appeal, the complainant and accused individual will be made aware of, and permitted to participate in, the appeal as it will be the only appeal conducted and its conclusion will be final. Where the complainant and accused individual each request to appeal on different grounds, those grounds will be consolidated into one appeal process.

    Whenever possible, reconsideration by the investigator(s) or original hearing body is preferred, as their familiarity with the complaint makes them better able to determine responsibility and to assign appropriate sanctions. An Appeal Panel will make changes to the finding only where there is clear procedural error and changes to the sanction(s) only if there is a compelling justification to do so.

    An appeal proceeding will include all parties to the complaint and all related documents. The Appeal Panel will be solely responsible for determining who should participate, what information is needed, and how proceedings will be structured.

    Because the scope of the appeal proceedings is limited to the allowable grounds, full re-hearings are exceptionally rare. A successful appeal permits the original deciding body or investigator(s) to consider ONLY the matter resulting in a remand, such as the new evidence, or to address ONLY those other grounds that were determined to be present and significant. If an appeal is heard, then the final outcome of the appeal will be communicated simultaneously to the parties usually within five (5) business days following deliberations.

  4. Standard of Proof for Resolution Processes

    The standard of proof for all determinations and findings regarding the provisions of this Policy shall be the preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence means such evidence that, when considered and compared with that opposed to it, is more convincing, creating the belief that what is sought to be shown is more likely than not to have occurred.

 

For further information, please contact:

Office of Human Resources
p – 516.877.3220
e – humanres@adelphi.edu

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